January 31, 2008
We all hear how important articles are – especially when used as a tool to help boost search engine rankings. We often read many articles a day about our industry or about something we are trying to learn. However, when it comes time to write articles to promote our own business – we are stumped.
Let’s break down articles and look at everything you need to know about why they work, how to properly write and syndicate articles and all the other fun details.
- It is an opportunity to share information and establish yourself as an expert
- It creates an opportunity for new traffic to come to your site (when your article gets distributed to various sites on the internet, people can read your article and click on a link within the article to get to your site.)
- It creates one-way links into your site. Every time one of your articles is posted, each link in your article counts as a one-way link to your site.
- When you write an article and post it on your site, you are creating new relevant text for your site visitors and for the search engines (which can result in a boost in rankings).
How Does Article Syndication Work?
- Write an article (keep reading for more specifics on how to format your article)
- Find a company that will handle your article syndication for you, OR locate sources you can syndicate your article to on your own.
- Post your article on your site and wait about a week to make sure the spiders index your site (making sure you get credit for the unique content as your own).
- Create accounts at the Article Sources you identified and submit your article.
- Pay close attention to their guidelines – do they allow HTML, do they require that your article not be published anywhere else, do they require your article be on your site, do they allow multiple submissions in a month? Etc, etc. It helps to keep a file with all the relevant details about the source so that all future submissions go smoothly.
- Notify all your clients, friends and family about the article and send them to it. In some sources you get credit (which means more exposure for your article) if it is popular and read often or searched for.
1. You want links from the article to different pages on your site – however not all sources allow hyperlinks in the content (they only allow a link within your bio) so make sure your article still makes sense even if it is a version that doesn’t have the links active.
2. Because the search engines look at the text within the “hot” or clickable part of the link – it is really good to use a keyword in that area. As an extra bonus, if you can change the keyword within the link on your article at different sources you get more of a benefit. In other words, take the time to create different versions of your article. Vary the text used as the anchor text in the links, and vary the pages that you link to within your site in the various versions. This will give Google what they are looking for – varying anchor text and links going to many pages on your site, not just one. This is one of the most important, and overlooked steps out there. This alone can increase the value you get from article syndication.
3. Link to relevant pages on your site, not just your homepage. It helps the reader get more information and it helps you with the search engines (they don’t like to see all the links going to one page only). Eventually you have articles out there going to all of your site pages. Just remember, when you link to a page you need to tie it into the content of an article. Ex: If you are talking about dog collars, don’t link to a page about bird cages.
4. Wait one week after you post it on your site before you syndicate it.
5. Always write a short, compelling bio with a link to your most important site page.
6. Include a “Reprint Rights” statement at the bottom of your article, allowing people to use and republish the article as long as they don’t alter it and they include a link to you.
7. Prepare a short, medium and long summary for your article. Many sources will ask for a summary in various lengths and you want to have it ready and have it be compelling so that if people read the summary they want to read the article and ultimately go to your site.
8. Don’t forget in addition to submitting to article websites, you can also submit to newsletters that are relevant in your industry.
9. Write the article in plain terms, don’t use too much jargon.
10. Make sure your article is informational and don’t be too salesy or self-promotional or people will be turned off and some sources may reject the article. Links to your site within the article and Author Bio is all you need to guide traffic to your site.
11. Don’t use a lot of formatting, keep the layout simple. For sources that don’t allow HTML you will end up losing the formatting anyway.
12. Check out your sources to be sure, but typically you want to aim for 600 – 800 words.
13. Write a very compelling headline. Tip: Take a look at Cosmo and other magazines out there; they have the best headlines on the cover. Try playing with headlines like that.
14. Make sure your article provides value and answers a question or solves a problem for your reader.
15. Don’t use long blocks of text, people like shorter paragraphs and bullet point lists.
16. Date each article with the date it was written (when posting it on your site, so that people will know if they are reading current information or not.
17. Update your SiteMap when you add articles to your site.
18. Link to your article from your Blog. Don’t post the article on your Blog and on your site – that is duplicating content and can be considered spam.
19. Create an Article Syndication Plan so that you have a clear plan to consistently release quality articles out to the public. Often people go crazy getting a couple articles out there, but then never do it again. Constant syndication, at a natural rate will get you the most benefit.
20. Consider the “keyword weight” of your article; aim for a good keyword density (about 3 – 4% density) using 1 – 2 keywords per article. Don’t stuff the article with keywords, creating something that is not an easy flowing read for your audience.
21. Look for a unique viewpoint or angle when writing your article. Rehashing the same old topics, sharing the same old opinions won’t get you as much mileage out of the article.
22. Have fun with it. Let your personality shine through in your writing. Articles should not be stiff and stilted. Let your readers connect with you through your writing.
23. Consider breaking longer articles into a 2 or 3 part series. This will vary how the engines see the content out there, and it creates suspense and anticipation as readers wait to see what the next article in the series will say.
24. Stay on top of the latest talk, news and buzz in your industry and be prepared to quickly pump out a great article to take advantage of some hot buzz or breaking news in your industry.
25. Most importantly, pay attention to detail. Articles are a great way to drive traffic and boost search engine rankings, but there are many details that you must pay attention to in order to get maximum benefit from your article syndication campaign.
Author: Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing and co-owner of http://www.EcomBuffet.com . Since 1998, her expertise in online marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue and achieve their business goals. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on Search Engine Optimization and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications. Jennifer can be reached at Jennifer@ecombuffet.com